Here is a recap of this week. I am mostly writing this so that I can remember all the events, and so I have it recorded to look back on in the future. Because of that, some of the details may be a little graphic for you, and the account is rather lengthy. Feel free to skip straight to the pictures. (to be added later)
Woke up at 4:15. I actually slept for most of the three hours. The first thirty minutes I was fighting going to sleep, but once asleep I didn't wake up until my alarm went off. It was a surreal morning to say the least. I wasn't as nervous as I was expecting to be. We got to the hospital where my mom was already waiting for me. They set us up in a Labor room, and a nurse came in to do my IV and take my medical history. I was so cold in that room, and SO nervous for what was about to come. I remember looking at the clock at about 6:00 knowing that my epidural was an hour away. I can't even begin to tell you how scared I was about the epidural. I am not a needle fan... the IV was no fun, but I had no idea what to expect getting a shot in my spine. I half wanted the time to speed up so we could get it over with, and I half wanted time to stop so I wouldn't have to go through with this afterall. Finally, they came in to take me to the Operating Room. This was a really really strange feeling - walking into this room. It was a lot different than I was expecting. It was like something out of a Science fiction movie. The room was bright white, and there was stuff EVERYWHERE. Bright spotlights, a really funny looking bed, all kids of monitors and people wearing masks. A lot of people were there. I told the anesthesiologist I was nervous and went on doing my nervous babbling that I do. I was shaking and shivering uncontrollably, and thinking that I was going to get paralyzed because of how shaky I was. Finally they had my sit up on a table and bend over. I had a nurse in front of me telling me to arch my back, holding my knees and talking me through it. The doctor said "three wipes to clean you off, one, two, three." "now a small prick." I barely felt the prick of the numbing agent at all, but felt a weird sensation in my back. I figured the doctor would tell me when she put the epidural in, but she didn't. I just suddenly felt my legs get really really hot. I told the nurse, my legs are really warm and she told me that it was the medicine working. And that was it. NOTHING!!!!!! My legs started to get numb as they laid me down on the table. I didn't feel like they were numb enough though. The doctor came in and marked where my incision would be and I was scared because I could feel it. I told them that I could feel it and they responded that I would feel everything, but no pain. I didn't understand... I thought I would be completely dead. WRONG!!! I was very scared at this point. I started to get really sick feeling, and wanted to throw up, but couldn't take a deep enough breath to cough. I felt like I was drowning and needed to throw up. I told the people in the room, and in a few minutes I felt better - I assume they gave me something, but I don't know what. Then Jarrod came in the room. YAY!!! He kept saying "what's going on?" he wasn't asking literally what was going on, but more "this is really unreal, I can't believe this is actually happening. Okay, this is really weird - but the procedure itself actually felt really really good. My lower body was very warm - like being in a hot tub. I felt a whole lot of pulling and tugging which really felt like a massage. I kept telling Jarrod "this feels really good." I had no idea what was happening, I didn't know if they had even started yet. Then I heard a little tiny voice and Dr. Siri telling Jarrod to stand up. He got the klcamera out and got to see the delivery of his son. Then they held him over the curtain for me to see. He was a purple and white mess of goo. Jarrod and I were listening to the sound of our baby crying, and looking at each other. He was out of sight from either of us. We both were just like "is this really happening?" It was very unreal. Then they brought the baby over to Jarrod, and he held him where I could see for about 5 or 10 minutes. Then Jarrod got to leave with the baby to the nursery where they continued to work on him and do their tests while I was being put back together. Then they wheeled me to a recovery area where I laid alone for about 45 minutes wondering what was happening with my baby and why wasn't Jarrod with me? Then he came in with a coke in hand and told me all about my little boy. Then they took me to the post partum room where I would spend the next few days. I was expecting not to see the baby for a few hours, but a nurse came in and asked me if I would like to try breastfeeding before they gave him a bath. So, they brought him in. I held him and looked at him, and kissed him, and cuddled with him, and fed him. It was amazing - although still not quite real. He didn't really feel like my baby yet. Then they took him away to do his bath and warm him up. He would be gone for the next two hours. My parents, and Jarrods parents came in and out of the room going between looking at Levi in the nursery, and seeing me in my room. The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I was given some pretty heavy medications - and was told (and I was aware also) that I was pretty amusing. I kept falling asleep or something, because I kept having visions, or really really short dreams and not realizing they were dreams. I would talk about them with the people in the room, and they would laugh at me. I'd then realize that what I said didn't make any sense at all. This was really frusterating, because I was with it enough to know that I wasn't making any sense, but out of it enough that I couldn't stop myself from saying the most ridiculous things. Oh well, at least everyone got a good laugh.
The hospital doesn't allow the baby to stay in the room with you if everyone is asleep, so at night they took him to the nursery and brought him to me every three hours to eat. Feeding him was actually pretty easy, although Jarrod had to help a lot. Needless to say, we did not get much sleep at all that night. About an hour and a half of sleep every few hours.
This is the day they made me get up for the first time. I was scared when the nurse came in and told me that I needed to get up. I had no idea what to expect from the pain, and I was pretty sure that getting your belly cut open and sewed back together would be painful to recover from. I was really surprised when I stood up that it really wasn't all that bad. I couldn't stand all the way up, and it wasn't exactly easy to walk, but the pain itself wasn't that bad. I was able to get off the IV and they brought me food for the first time. I was off of the IV pain medication, so I was able to hold real conversations with people. This is the day that I fell in love with my baby boy. I just wanted to hold him and cuddle him and love him and teach him everything. We had someone with us in the room from the morning until the evening every day which was both great and hard at the same time. I wasn't able to sleep during the day at all, and night time sleeping was next to impossible. It was also hard because I wanted everyone else to get the chance to hold the baby... so I pretty much was only holding him while trying to feed him, which got harder and more frustrating to do. It was great to see everyone, but I highly recommend ensuring that you have alone time during the day to hold your baby and sleep.
Lack of sleep, hormones, pain, more hormones, and emotional stress kicked in this day. I was exhausted beyond belief. I had only slept for 2 hours in a row max the past four days, and not even then, I only slept for a total of maybe 4 hours each night. By Thursday this really caught up to me. On top of that, I was full of pain medication, my milk had come in so I was in pain there, my hormones had just gone through the ringer, and I felt like I hadn't gotten any quality time with the baby. I was a mess, and it was all I could do to keep from crying all day. In the midst of all of that, however, I was full of so much joy it's indescribable. I was really excited about coming home the next day, and couldn't wait to get into my bed and spend some really good time with the baby. We asked that no one visit on Friday... which turned out to be the best decision because I ended up getting really sick on Friday.
The doctor came in the morning and checked me out and said I was good to go. The baby's doctor also discharged Levi. This was a relief because he was jaundice and there was a chance that he would have had to stay in the nursery under the lights after I was already discharged. I was so happy to know that the baby was coming home with Jarrod and I. When I got out of bed that morning, I felt really sick to my stomach. I went to the nurses station to ask if they had anything they could give me for nausea. This happened several times throughout the day. Jarrod got us all packed up and ready to go. He took everything to the car, and came back up to the room. I wasn't feeling great, and I really wanted to take a nap, so we decided to take a nap before we left. When I got up, I was feeling really terrible again. One of the nurses told me that the nausea could have come from being "stopped up" if you know what I mean. So I went to the bathroom and tried very hard to get everything out. This was a painful process!! When I got up to wash my hands I suddenly had to throw up. After I was done throwing up, my body decided to give me the opposite problem as before, and emptied still more of my stomach contents. (I know this is gross). I was miserable. I went and lied down, then needed to go to the bathroom again. I told the nurse what was going on, and she called my doctor. The doctor then decided it was best to readmit me. They had to put me back on an IV to get me some fluids. I was disappointed that I wasn't getting to go home, but happy that I was at the hospital when I got sick. They managed my nausea, and kept me hydrated with fluids. Then... the horrible part of the day... my baby's nurse came in to inform me that the baby had been discharged from the hospital and would not be readmitted because there was no medical reason and also because he had been exposed to me and I could possibly have a virus that he could pass on to the other babies in the nursery. The nurses said that we would probably have to send him home, either with Jarrod, or have someone come pick him up and take him home while I stayed in the hospital. Needless to say, I was crushed, and all my emotions came out with the nurses in the room. I was so upset I couldn't believe it. Then later, they told me that his pediatrician called, and did not want the baby around me, for fear of getting him sick, but that he could be readmitted. So what ended up happening was that he had to stay in the nursery all night, and they had to bottle feed him. I was crushed by that as well. I really wanted to get breastfeeding off to a good start. I had even requested that he not be given a pacifier so that there would be no chance of nipple confusion. It was so important to me that he not have any bottles or pacifiers that could possibly interfere with breastfeeding. This was really a crushing blow that he had to be bottlefed that night. They did allow me to pump my own milk for him. They told me that they would give him whatever I produced, but they would probably have to supplement it with formula, since I probably wouldn't produce enough for him. They said even if it was only a drop, they would give it to him. To everyone's surprise, when they brough in the pump, I pumped TWO bottles full of milk for him!! Let me paint a funny picture for you. At one point during the day, a nurse came in to take my blood while I was pumping. I was physically exhausted and could barely sit up at all, and the pain in my breasts was almost unbearable - so Jarrod held the pump on my for me. So here I was in bed with a nurse drawing my blood, and Jarrod holding this contraption on me. It would have been a great picture for the scrapbook! Anyway, other than the fact that I was still euphoric about the baby, I had just about the worst night possible that night. I was missing my baby, I was torn apart by the fact that he was being bottlefed, I was physically exhausted beyond belief, I was off of my pain medication because it made me throw up - so I was in quite a bit of pain, I kept running to the bathroom... and eventually just set up shop in there on the toilet with my breast pump and IV. I was in there I think a total of 2 hours at one point. All the while my stomach is cramping because of the "runs" as well as the pain from the surgery, on top of that fact that my uterus was contracting due to the breastfeeding / pumping. MISERABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Physically, the worst night of my life, emotionally pretty hard being separated from my baby and having him being bottlefed. I kept my spirits up by reminding myself that it was only one night (hopefully), and that he was perfectly healthy and strong. I had a pefect baby, and we would leave the hospital soon.
I woke up after sleeping I think three WONDERFUL hours in a row. I felt pretty good. I did have to make some restroom stops a few times, but all my lab tests said that I could go home and be around the baby. The doctor confirmed this by noon, and we were all released from the hospital. When they brought Levi in to me, I was stingy, I didn't care who was around - I held him the whole time. When it came time to feed him, he latched on like a pro. There was no set back at all. We were on our way home by around 2 in the afternoon. I couldn't be more happy about going home!!